The purpose of my recent trip to Thailand was to attend a conference. However, since I’m all about “traveling the world, and running it, too”, I always look to see if a race is happening while I’m at that destination and try to turn the travel into a runcation. Luckily for me, the Amari Watergate Charity MidnightRun coincided with my time in Bangkok, providing another opportunity and excuse to run the world.
As the name indicates, the race started at midnight from the Amari Watergate Hotel. Though I’d already been in Bangkok for a few days the day of the race, an experienced the heat and saw how “turnt up” the city was day or night, I still wasn’t really prepared for how heat, humidity, and hecticness the night of the race. While 77F (25C) and about 80% humidity might be the perfect conditions for the beach, it is not optimal run-a-race-at-midnight weather.
Less than a kilometer into it, I was panting and sweating profusely, due to the precarious traffic situation as the heat and humidity because traffic was not blocked off, and we ran on the side of the road as cars whizzed by just a few feet away. At one point, the runners were halted in order to allow cars to pass. To be fair, there were people with flashlights “directing” the traffic that was moving at full speed, coaxing them and us to stay in our lanes. However, I took extra safety precautions and made sure I was closest to the curb, and that there were a few other runners between the cars and me serving as a bumper of sorts.
There were lots of people out on the streets of Bangkok, but they weren’t cheering on the runners – in fact, many of them looked at us like we were weird – they were just out for the evening. And not just party people, but elderly people, families with young kids, EVERYBODY, hanging out after midnight in Bangkok. I think Bangkok may be able to challenge New York for that “City That Never Sleeps” title.
Though the traffic situation still gets a major side-eye from me, the other aspects of race day support were positive. The water stops, which began at around the 1-kilometer mark, and continued every 2.5-3 kilometers thereafter, had cups of water with ice. I stopped at every one. After the race, runners crossed the finish line, and their running shoes morphed into dance shoes as they danced to the music provided by the live DJ.
In addition to the typical post-race distribution of water, sports drink, and fruit – watermelon instead of the usual suspects, bananas and oranges – there was major food being served up; wonderful smelling noodles and soups and more. I left a little before 2 am due to an early morning wake-up call, however, the post-run party was still going strong.
*Opening photo credit: www.runthailand.com